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Beauty Schools and Cosmetology Colleges

Any individual who provides manicures or pedicures, shampoos, cuts, dyes or styles hair, or provides cosmetic skin care services, including makeup application, is considered a cosmetologist. The main objective of any cosmetologist is to always make clients look and feel their best. This is primarily done through professional care and treatment of the clients' hair, skin and nails. Depending on the actual job title and the duties performed by the cosmetologist, the type of education, training and licensing required for each job will vary. There will also be variations from state to state.

A successful cosmetologist will have the skill and ability to provide clients with such an enjoyable and rewarding experience that they will keep coming back. In order to achieve this level of skill, they have to stay current with the latest fashion trends and continually improve their training and education. Cosmetologists have exciting careers that offer plenty of opportunity for personal improvement and financial advancement.

Jobs and Responsibilities After Beauty School School

Some basic duties performed on a daily basis after finishing beauty school include:

  • Washing, cutting, and shaping hair and hair pieces

  • Straightening or curling hair

  • Dyeing, bleaching or tinting hair

  • Styling wigs and hair pieces

  • Performing head or neck massages

  • Providing therapeutic advice and/or treatment to clients with scalp conditions

  • Removing or bleaching facial and body hair

  • Applying cosmetics and makeup

  • Cleaning, trimming and polishing nails

As cosmetologists become more skilled and experienced, and as they build a loyal clientele, their earning potential will greatly increase. Their options for advancement will also increase. Opportunities will become available to manage shops or salons, and even to open their own establishments. Cosmetologists can also become sales representatives for beauty and skin care product manufacturers. And they can also become teachers in cosmetology schools. It all depends on their personal interests and abilities.

Where Cosmetology School Graduates Can Work

Most raduates work in beauty salons, barber shops and nail salons. Other places include resorts, day spas, department stores, drug stores and even nursing homes.

Cosmetology Schools Training and Education

The educational and training requirements will vary from state to state. All states require licensing. One of the requirements for licensing is graduation from cosmetology or beauty school. Typically, a requirement for enrollment in cosmetology school is completion of high school. However, this varies from state to state. In some states, only an eighth grade education is required prior to enrolling. After successful completion of the program, applicants for a cosmetology license will typically be required to pass a written test and practical exam.

Most schools will offer a variety of cosmetology programs. The most common programs offered are: esthetics, cosmetology, electrolysis, nail technology and teacher training.

  • An esthetics program will provide the student with training in makeup application, facials, waxing, and head and neck massaging.

  • A full cosmetology program will educate the student in the specifics of hair cutting and styling, skin care, makeup application, and nail care.

  • An electrolysis program will train the student on how to perform permanent hair removal of the face and body through electrolysis.

  • A nail technology program will teach the student the techniques for manicures and pedicures.

  • A teacher training program will prepare the student to train others who want to become cosmetologists.

How long it takes a student to complete training depends on the program the student chooses. Normally, a full cosmetology program will take between 1400 and 1600 hours to complete. The actual number of required hours depends on the state. An esthetics program may take an average of 300 hours, a nail technology program may require between 600 to 700 hours, and an electrolysis program may require approximately 500 hours. A full-time student at a beauty school should be able to complete a full cosmetology program in under two years.

Cosmetology School Accreditation

The main accrediting agency for beauty schools is the National Accrediting Commission for Cosmetology Arts and Sciences (NACCAS). The NACCAS is not the only accrediting agency. Two others are the Accrediting Council for Continued Education and Training (ACCET) and the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT).

The main benefit of enrolling in a beauty school that has been accredited is that students will be eligible for financial aid. Another benefit is that accredited schools have met the minimum academic requirements that are set by the accrediting agency. Students attending an accredited school can be confident in the quality of the academic curriculum, the qualification of the instructors, and the quality of the facilities.

Job Numbers for Beauty School Graduates

According to the NACCAS, there were more than 1.6 million working cosmetologists in 2003.

Earnings and Wages for Cosmetology School Graduates

The median annual income for cosmetologists in 2004 (which includes tips and commissions) was $19,800. The median income for skin care specialists in the same year was $24,000.

Employment Prospects for Beauty School Graduates

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the expected growth rate for jobs is about the same as the average for all occupations through 2014. While job prospects for are good throughout the country, the majority of jobs exist in larger cities and more densely populated areas.

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